Despite Our Differences

20 years on from their first musical offering, the Indigo Girls thankfully refuse to age with grace and here turn in an album as vital and as edgy as anything they’ve ever done, with fresh subtleties to add to an illustrious back catalogue.

20 years on from their first musical offering, the Indigo Girls thankfully refuse to age with grace and here turn in an album as vital and as edgy as anything they’ve ever done, with fresh subtleties to add to an illustrious back catalogue. Thus you get less of the political and more individual reflections, but maybe it’s the surplus of catchy lines that gives Despite Our Differences its main, er, difference.

The delicious ‘I Believe In Love’ shows how breaking up can be done with a tenderness encapsulated in the lines “I still believe that despite our differences, what we have’s enough/I believe in you and I believe in love.” Changing patterns in nature are the basis for ‘Three County Highway’. The biting ‘Pendulum Swinger’ alludes to modern times, name-checking the Vatican, the da Vinci Code and, of course, the war-mongering Bush. Pink rolls up to add spunky vocals and gutsy guitar to the exhilarating ‘Rock And Roll Heaven’s Gate’, while ‘Last Tear’ offers hope and determination to the broken and bewildered, and ‘Little Perennials’, a feisty acoustic stomper, deals with isolation and the importance of relationships.

Mitchell Froom’s warm and unfussy production allows the quality of the songs and the voices of Saliers and Ray to shine through. If there’s a message on this album it's that personal difficulties provide opportunities for further maturity, renewal and understanding. Any album that gets that message across with such élan should infiltrate the record collections of just about anybody who cares about anything.

 

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